Community Partner Spotlight July 2012: Palace of Fruit, Petaluma, CA

Do you remember when a summer road trip included a stop at a local produce stand?  Friendly people who knew their produce and took pride in offering specialty items from the local area?  Palace of Fruit at the corner of Ely Rd and Old Redwood Highway conjures up those fond memories.  It’s a family business now on its second generation.  

Gina and Ken Ebertus are the current owners. Ken’s parents took over the business in 1958.  When Ken was a toddler, his mother would take him to work and set him in a crib while she attended to customers.  “You can say Ken literally grew up in the family business,” explained Gina.  

For several years, Palace of Fruit has been a “life saver” according to SCWR Executive Director, Doris Duncan.  “Our patients need good nutrition to gain strength and prepare for life back in the wild.  Fresh produce helps young animals understand what to forage for, how to eat and it stimulates their senses.  These are all basic survival skills for wildlife.”  

Ken sources produce for his store with trips to produce markets three times a week.  With the help of his great staff, “our family,” as Ken refers to this crew, the couple run the store and also supply and deliver to local restaurants, schools and care facilities in Petaluma.  As with any fresh produce market, there’s a portion of food that could go to waste.  The couple is heartened to know that the Center – and the animals – welcome the extra produce.  

“We’re so fortunate to have Gina and Ken helping us,” commented Doris.  “We rely on the generosity of community partners like Palace of Fruit to help the Center get through the hungry summer months.  It’s the busiest time for staff and volunteers who are just trying to keep up with the appetites of growing raccoons, foxes and other wildlife babies.  We’d rather not rely on prepared foods – fresh produce is optimal.”  

We encourage you to visit Palace of Fruit - corner of Old Redwood Hwy and Ely Rd, just outside Petaluma.  Say hello to Noel and Nicholaus – the market’s mascots, a pair of beautiful silver labs.  The market is open 9AM to 6PM Monday through Saturday and from 10AM to 5:30PM  Sundays.  

Palace of Fruit